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Traffic count data for Grovelands Road collected during a week in December 2018 has provided hard evidence about the large amount of traffic using this residential street and the number of drivers who are breaking the 30mph speed limit.  Every day some 1,300 vehicles used the road. Nine people were recorded driving at more than 50mph, including three who were doing more than 60mph.  The highest speed recorded was 70.4mph.

lakes estate traffic monitoring points dec 2018Traffic counts were carried out at 11 locations in December 2018. To date, data has only been published for Grovelands Road

The data, obtained by a Grovelands Road resident from Enfield Council, shows traffic counts broken down into hourly segments for the week of 12th to 18th December.  For each segment the data breaks down the vehicle counts according to speed. 

The total number of vehicles detected was 9,129 - on average 1,300 a day.  1,241 vehicles were breaking the speed limite (around one in seven - an average of 177 per day).

In peak hours more than two drivers a minute were using the road.  Even during the busiest hour of the entire week, with around 70 vehicles going in each direction, 14 drivers broke the speed limit - and this was at the very time when there would have been children returning home from school.

The table below shows totals for the whole week. (Click here if the table is not displaying properly.)

Traffic counts in Grovelands Road, N13, for the week 12-18 December 2018

Download Excel workbook containing detailed source data

Speed (mph) Northbound Southbound
Total 4161 4968
Vpp85 29.5 29.6
Mean 22.8 23.4
SD 6.9 6.5
0-5 3 5
5-10 131 119
10-15 445 365
15-20 750 947
20-25 1244 1588
25-30 1035 1256
30-35 396 511
35-40 116 129
40-45 31 37
45-50 5 7
50-55 3 1
55-60 1 1
60-65 1 1
65-70 0 0
70-75 0 1
Vehicles = 9129
Posted speed limit = 30 mph, Exceeding = 1241 (13.59%), Mean Exceeding = 33.85 mph
Maximum = 70.4 mph, Minimum = 0.7 mph, Mean = 23.1 mph
85% Speed = 29.58 mph, 95% Speed = 33.78 mph, Median = 23.32 mph
10 mph Pace = 19 - 29, Number in Pace = 5335 (58.44%)
Variance = 44.54, Standard Deviation = 6.67 mph

"By no means the worst rat-run in the area"

The Grovelands Road resident who obtained the data described it as "staggering".  Clare Rogers of Better Streets for Enfield commented:

"This data presents a picture of a street that is hostile to walking, cycling and residents' well-being. Speeding aside, the sheer volume of 1,300 vehicles a day prevents this from being a truly healthy neighbourhood street, where any age can walk or cycle and people tend to stroll in the middle of the road: that transformation happens at around 300 vehicles a day. And we know that Grovelands Road is by no means the worst rat-run in the area."

A "safe" speed, but only for some...

The Vpp85 data in the table (the 85th percentile) is used by traffic engineers to assess the speed which feels appropriate for most drivers when traffic is flowing freely.  The speed that feels safe to drivers will depend on factors such as road width, how straight the road is, how far they can see etc.  In this case Vpp85 was below the speed limit (but only just). 

But drivers are judging safety in terms of the risk to occupants of cars, in particular themselves, and the occupants of a large car or SUV travelling at 30mph would be pretty safe driving along Grovelands Road.  The risk to people in the category referred to as "vulnerable road users" is, however, very high at 30mph.  A pedestrian - such as a child unexpectedly emerging from behind a parked car, or a cyclist knocked off their bike - is highly likely to be seriously injured or killed if hit by a car going at 30mph.  If speed limits in urban areas are set at 20mph - as is increasingly common, but not in Enfield - the chances of surviving with minor injuries is high.

So, given that the primary function of roads like Grovelands is to provide access to people living there, it is irresponsible for the Council to set the speed limit at 30mph.  A much more appropriate limit would be 20mph, if necessary backed up by measures which would cause drivers to go more slowly - speed humps, road narrowing, obstacles like planters (but at intervals along a long straight road, not just at either end).

So what about the "quieter neighbourhood"?

The December traffic counts were carried out to provide baseline data so that the council can do a proper "before and after" assessment of the effectiveness of their "quieter neighbourhood" measures. So far these merely consist of planters placed at the ends of some streets, including Grovelands, which are supposedly intended to deter through drivers, but the signs rather paradoxically "welcome" them to "our street".

Unlike the thousands of cars that drive through the Lakes Estate every day, the rollout of the quieter neighbourhood measures has been very slow and, anecdotally at least, they have had little or no effect on traffic volumes or speed.  Hopefully, similar baseline data gathered at ten further locations will soon be released.  It will almost certainly show that the "neighbourhood" is anything but quiet (higher speeds create exponentially more noise) and, with so much traffic, not really conducive to neighbourliness.  High time for a serious attempt to tame the rat-runners.

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David Hughes posted a reply
26 Feb 2019 18:32
What strikes me about this is that for most adults their car(s) is at the heart of their lives, and children cannot imagine the sort of freedom my generation enjoyed (I'm 81). Furthermore the lines of cars on either side of the road, and the absence of children on the street , doesn't seem to disturb most of them as they do me.

But still it is: "High time for a serious attempt to tame the rat-runners." By and large they don't disturb me in Conway Road, but amazingly friends living on the street tell me that rat-running from Fox Lane to the head of Ulleswater Road is very common.

Should something effective be done on the Lakes Estate the effect on the through roads around it would be high. Which really would put pressure on drivers to travel by different means, which, initially at least, was an aim.
Christie Wagland posted a reply
28 Feb 2019 08:15
I’ve been emailing the council about this since December. As a new resident to Grovelands, I find the traffic issue so alarming. Not one response back. I don’t understand the pussyfooting around this issue by the council, it’s very obviously a big problem and menacing to society.
Darren Edgar posted a reply
28 Feb 2019 09:26
Trying to reign in the swears, but those stats are essentially disgusting. Thankfully the vast majority occupy the 20-30mph bracket. Personally I think twenty's plenty on any unclassified road and would like to see that rolled out across Enfield - WITH ENFORCEMENT.

Pity the Lakes' roads are seen as too narrow for modal filtering. That's the only thing that'd genuinely make a difference to this.
Karl Brown posted a reply
28 Feb 2019 09:39
Christine said

I’ve been emailing the council about this since December. As a new resident to Grovelands, I find the traffic issue so alarming. Not one response back. I don’t understand the pussyfooting around this issue by the council, it’s very obviously a big problem and menacing to society

Assume you mean December 2018 rather than December 1988, albeit I think you’ll find others have been pressing over that sort of time frame. Best get a set of earplugs to drown out what's been a never ending sound of wringing hands, should there ever be a reply (and helps with the disturbance from speeding cars too of course).

I’m just told, after listening to speed complaints from a neighbour and her visiting tradesman, that Lakesides new planter took a dunch within its first 24 hours of installation. Is that a record?
Bill Linton posted a reply
28 Feb 2019 10:01
I walk along Grovelands frequently and my impression is that the considerable majority of cars travelling along it do so from one end to the other, with relatively few starting or finishing their journeys there.

I also sometimes come back late at night and it's quite eerily quiet. The contrast is quite startling, emphasising just how much traffic there is during the day.
John Phillips posted a reply
28 Feb 2019 10:59
Being a sad old man with little to do, I carried out my own survey in Lakeside Road on Sunday 2nd April 2017. In the 40 minutes from 11.24am we had:

42 rat running cars
6 resident car movements
4 non resident parking
3 u turns
1 accessing the service road
3 bikes
1 van delivery.

I did a couple of other surveys too. They obviously carry no weight but consistently show about 86 -90% of all cars are just rat runners. This is a very different situation from only a few years ago, before sat navs.

The only respite from the noise, pollution and danger was the delightful interlude when the pavement crossovers were being built and the road was closed for some weeks. Heavenly!
Topaz Consulting posted a reply
01 Mar 2019 13:32
Last Summer was the last straw when our puppy was rundown and killed outside our house.
I am fed up with the passive interest shown by the Council in taking the issue of speeding and reckless driving seriously. Here is a letter we sent at the time:


Dear Fellow Resident
I am writing to you today in my grief as our family lost our beloved 9 month puppy Jasper yesterday morning by a hit and run driver on Forestdale who was driving at a reckless speed.
The trail of trauma, shock and pain that this incident has caused is very hard to bear.
We are growing ever concerned at the rate of speed cars race along the road. Many a time I have stood back in horror at the acceleration of cars and cannot comphrend why people think it is acceptable in a residential street to behave as though they are on the North Circular.
I would be grateful if you could please take some time to send an email to the individuals listed and complain about the traffic issues as you see them.
Personally, I feel if a speed camera was fitted the council would make quite a fortune from these drivers. Even if they put barriers or a calming method it would help. Now we have nothing and whilst yesterday we lost our darling pet tomorrow it could be a child, an elderly person or just anyone. There has been a spate of hit and runs locally on Monday a 9 year old child was hit and broke her leg but the car did not stop.
Let’s show our community spirit and stand up and ask for a change to help our quality of life on this lovely road.
Please email or write to the councillors above and let them know we need to slow the traffic on Forestdale NOW.
With Many Thanks
From Another Forestdale Family
In memory of Jasper
Simon Broughton posted a reply
17 Mar 2019 21:44
I don't see how the building of additional traffic obstructions is going to help. The new junctions with Aldermans Hill, for example, make turning in and out of the junction a nightmare. You have to turn across both lanes of Aldermans Hill to complete the turn even when turning left. This increases the danger of an accident. The more you frustrate drivers the more likely they are to break the speed limits. The one and only way to stop the speedsters is speed cameras and draconian fines, say £1000 for the first offence, £2000 for the second offence and so on. Even law abiding traffic generates more pollution when forced to slow down and extend journey times and I fear we are getting the balance wrong. Pollution is killing far more people than traffic accidents

We should remember what our roads are actually for. They are not playgrounds. If you want to make your children safer then buy a copy of the highway code and make them learn it. When my twin brother and I were eleven when my parents bought us our first bicycles for our birthday but would not allow us to use them until we learnt the highway code and they tested us thoroughly to ensure we knew all of it. We only ever rode our bikes on the road and never on the pavement and never had an accident throughout our lives wherever we were. This may have been the 1960s but children still need a sense of responsibility.
Simon Broughton posted a reply
17 Mar 2019 22:09
A new traffic monitor device has recently been fitted opposite our house and, would you believe it, someone cut the cable within the first 48 hours. the engineer said it had been cut with a knife. Bonkers!
David Hughes posted a reply
18 Mar 2019 00:03
I think Simon Broughton has written the piece for this website I disagree with most.

Perhaps with the exception of Fox Lane - though I think not - these Lakes Estate streets were/are for living, and up until somewhere in the 1950s streets of this kind would have been most notable for kids playing on them unsupervised. Where I grew up that was often after dark when day-length was short. Then the growth in car use sprang into life putting cars in the dominant position, and restricting kids freedoms enormously.

The era of confined childhood had begun.........there is a famous academic paper on the subject written at the time (unfortunately I forget the writer's name and at my age, 81,I'm unlikely to call it to mind).

By chance a present day academic was interviewed on BBC television around midday yesterday, making the point that the recent/current recommended diet arrangements for over-weight kids diets are appropriate, but the Government's aims will not work unless residential streets again become children's playgrounds. Children must exercise more than they do now. Changes must come about on the streets.

Unfortunately it's late in the day now; this is a rushed contribution, and I will be preoccupied elsewhere for a week or more. However, I will return to this topic because it matters a great deal.
Adrian Day posted a reply
18 Mar 2019 13:05
The 60s was a very different time , Simon. I have tracked cars speeding down Old Park Road at over 60 mph - sadly if a child (or any person for that matter) is hit by that car it won't matter if they know every word of the Highway Code off by heart. A low traffic neighbourhood in the Lakes Estate would stop the 80% of vehicle journeys that are rat runners and make the streets a place for people not cars.
Andrew Stedman posted a reply
21 Mar 2019 21:44
I don't own a car, normally using buses and trains as I work in central London, but have had the use of one for the last couple of weeks. I find turning left from Fox Lane into Lakeside Road quite alarming - the heavy wooden planter is quite close to the junction, and if a car is coming out onto Fox Lane such that you have to wait, there is barely room for a car to get out of the stream of traffic on Fox Lane. A delivery van would quite likely be stuck out into the road, at risk of being hit from behind.

Turning in from the Alderman's Hill end is also somewhat hazardous, with the raised street level causing an adverse camber as you round the corner. Any ice or grease on the road could cause a driver to lose sufficient control to avoid hitting a car coming out.

So I think it will be an interesting experiment to see whether these make roads safer or not.
Adrian Day posted a reply
21 Mar 2019 23:33
Andrew - the aim of these measures is indeed to make it less easy for vehicles to use our residential streets as a rat run . Figures show hundreds cut through my street, Old Park Road, every day, bringing noise, pollution and danger. The fact that vehicles may have to queue in Fox Lane shouldn't in itself be a danger - people should drive at speeds that allow them to stop if a road is blocked. The real danger is to pedestrians and cyclists who don't have a ton of metal around to protect them - rat-runners have been clocked travelling at over 60mph in Old Park Road using an MPS speed gun.
David Hughes posted a reply
29 Mar 2019 10:59
I came back from a holiday to find speed humps on Fox Lane. Hurrah I thought. Quieter and safer.

But this morning I cycled down and later up the Lane, and was rewarded both times by very hard acceleration between humps. I guess that when there's a lot of traffic the humps may achieve their intention, but in low traffic conditions things won't be so good.
Richard Mapleston posted a reply
04 Apr 2019 09:46
As a child of the 50's I remember quite clearly our leisure regime. We had our tea then rushed on our bikes straight down to the park or rec . Where we played cricket or football. There was always a game on, controlled by the bigger boys of course. We might cycle on the road, but usually the pavement. So what point am I making? It seems very puzzling to me that correspondence and discussion is not focusing on better use of the park. for play. And safe transit from home to the park. Broomfield Park is wonderful. It is enormous. So the issue is making it safe to get to the park - involving crossing Aldermans Hill. In my humble opinion the challenge is to slow traffic on this road, and so into the park. As children we were never supervised. We played perfectly contentedly in the park. And of course if you live a little further from Bloomfield then the playground of choice should be Grovelands. This might lead to a conversation on safety. Parks are way safer than streets . And the more people in them the safer they are. For everybody.
Karl Brown posted a reply
04 Apr 2019 14:33
Richard makes a powerful point about making it safe for kids to get to and from our local parks. But of course not every journey made by a kid is to / from a park; not everyone is a kid; and not everyone enjoys the level of nearby parks we benefit from in west PG. What the latest blizzard of road stats does however reveal is that essentially every local street does suffer from occasional-national-speed-limit breaking speeds and a significant minority of vehicles break the streets’ speed limit.
Focus on kids and parks by all means but we shouldn’t forget it’s a mere sliver of the overall problem-pie we are all forced to digest, every day, and pretty much all of the time.
Adrian Day posted a reply
04 Apr 2019 19:22
It's a great we have some lovely parks close by, though many parents would hesitate before sending their children there on their own. One of the best things about living in Old Park Road is the wonderful atmosphere when the street is closed - the annual Street Party, the Car-free day and the other Sunday play days. The road is traffic free - and therefore engine noise, fume and danger free; adults and children alike can use the space between their houses for living - talking, playing, eating, drinking and socialising, rather than giving it over to the hundreds of rat-runners who speed down it every day. If only there were more days like that.
Karl Brown posted a reply
07 Apr 2019 17:15
A head on crash in the centre section this Friday suggests all is not well with the outcome of planters in this street. Less engine noise and more i thought someone was coming through my front door. Quite unusual I must say for crashes tend to be at the two ends. Walking wounded only, fortunately. Bits of car still on the street if anyone is a collector.
Basil Clarke posted a reply
07 Apr 2019 19:49
I was walking up Fox Lane on Thursday, around 6pm, and had gone through the corrugated iron tunnel and was almost at Old Park Road. There was a car heading towards Green Lane at a normal speed when another car came down Fox Lane at high speed, passed the first car by going on the wrong side of the traffic island, heading straight for the bridge at 50 or 60mph on the wrong side of the road, he couldn't possibly have known whether anyone was coming up from Green Lanes. I'm generally opposed to capital punishment, but I think that going the wrong side of a traffic island should be a hanging offence.
Clare Rogers posted a reply
08 Apr 2019 22:06
The Lakes Estate roads are not too narrow for modal filtering, although that may be the perception. If anything they are wider than the roads I've seen in Waltham Forest where area-wide modal filtering has produced such a dramatic difference to residents' quality of life.
Clare Rogers posted a reply
08 Apr 2019 22:10
Kids should be the indicator species for healthy streets. If a child can safely and independently get to Broomfield or Grovelands Park - because of low traffic volume within the Fox Lane neighbourhood, and 20mph and decent crossings on Bourne Hill and Aldermans Hill - then an elderly or disabled person could get around safely and a 12-year-old could cycle to school. Result - healthy streets.
Karl Brown posted a reply
09 Apr 2019 16:47
There’ll naturally be an intent to wait until all planters are in and the subsequent data is analysed but experience so far of Old Park Road and Fox Lane suggests the impact of changes so far on either the volume or velocity of traffic has been completely ineffective. That appears to be a widely held view, at least in this street. Perception does suggest that the very largest rat-running wagons are down in number - but certainly not small and mid-sized vans.

My cycling experiment (PG to Southgate) ended last year when I concluded the risks were simply too great. I see nothing to have changed that view since the installations. The bike remains back in the shed.

As part of the schemes assessment it’ll be interesting to hear exactly what the objective(s) of success was to be set against.
Adrian Day posted a reply
10 Apr 2019 16:16
I wonder if the planters (and possibly the Fox Lane speed bumps) have contributed to an increase in speeds on OPR and other north/south residential roads as drivers work off the 'frustration' of the obstacles. Looking forward to the post- data.